Orphan Dani By Simon Driscoll Genre: Tween Fantasy Adventure
Dani is a young orphan girl, living on the streets of a medium-sized border town. Her only friend in the world is a dragon. At fourteen years of age, she should be starting her apprenticeship, but all her schooling has come from a dragon. The same day he promises she can some day become a dragon herself, a Mage finally comes looking for her. But is he there to help her, or control her?
“I cordially seek refuge in your cave from forces most foul,” I said. “Refuge granted. Have the barbarous youths of Barrington been attacking again?” Miazan asked, then smiled back. His long rows of dagger-like teeth made even his most inviting smile appear threatening. I was much better at this game than when we first started. Currently the challenge was to sound as pompous as possible. Miazan explained this is how they speak in royal courts, but I couldn’t imagine anyone talking like that all the time, let alone ever finding myself in a royal court. I chewed as I formed the proper reply in my head. “Sadly, no. The foe I faced for the last fortnight was a person I once thought my friend.” “Surely not Ashej.” “No, he’s remained a decent host, though he’s become more distant since the difficulties began.” I stared at his beautiful and fierce saurian face while I tried to puzzle out what all this could mean. Unable to reach a conclusion, I decided to ask the hardest question of all. “Miazan, the refuge I seek this morning is… not a… a… not a… fleeting or… or temporary one.” Grabbing an apple, I took a loud bite from the sweet crisp fruit. It was too early in the season for apples, but I didn’t question where Miazan acquired these feasts. Miazan’s smile disappeared. “I cannot always protect you, little one. No one can.” “Why not?” Bits of apple escaped as I spoke. Chagrinned at my mistake, I swallowed the rest before continuing. “You’re so much older and stronger than I am. Why can’t I live here with you?” “Dani, I enjoy your company. But you are a human, and have a full human life ahead of you. I cannot fulfill all your human needs. Sometimes I am gone for months to places you cannot come. Who would look after you then? No, you must learn to face your challenges and find ways to overcome them.” "Why?" “First of all, not all dragons are friendly to each other, or to humans, for that matter, and some of them are larger than I am. Secondly… I… used to be human myself.” Miazan stared pensively upward at the small stalactites. Most of the larger ones were broken. I couldn’t imagine what he was looking at, but perhaps he just couldn’t face me when he said it. My expression grew to wonder as I realized the implications of what he’d just revealed. If he had been human once, maybe there was a chance I could… “How did you become a dragon?” “It’s a long story I never share with humans. Sorry.” His gaze shifted over to the wall of artifacts. It seemed he was looking everywhere but into my eyes. Sitting there, I stared at my old friend in disbelief. “Could you… I mean, could I… I mean…” I took a deep breath and spat it out before I could change my mind again. “I want to become a dragon too.” Miazan’s head snapped back around and he looked me right in the eyes. “You don’t mean that. Don’t ever say that unless you mean it!” I backed away. I’d never seen Miazan upset about anything. “But why? Can it be any worse than my life right now?” “Yes, Dani. It can.” I let out a long sigh. “But my only friend is a dragon. The only person in the world who even welcomes me is a dragon. Why can’t I be a dragon too?” Miazan didn’t speak right away. His expression showed he was deep in thought. When he spoke, it was a whisper so quiet I could not believe a dragon as large as Miazan could make such a small noise. I didn’t even see his lips move. “You cannot be a dragon, little one, because I love you too much to put you through the horrors I endured.” I didn’t know what to say, so I sat silently, staring into his large eyes. What horrors had he seen? How could keeping me human protect me from anything? Then, as if he hadn’t spoken at all, he said in his normal voice, “Becoming a dragon is not easy, and it won’t solve your problems. It takes a long time to prepare. If you truly want to be a dragon, come back next year. Don’t mention it again until the next winter snow melts. If you still want to be a dragon, I’ll find a way for you.” My eyes went wide with shock. Ignoring the whispered warning, I latched on to what I wanted to hear. “Thank you, Miazan! I know I won’t change my mind. And I promise, I won’t ask again until the next spring thaw.” I filled my sack with food and left the cave, walking on air. The warmth of spring was almost here, and I knew it would be a long wait, but at least I had hope.
Simon Driscoll has published several books, including the Dragons’ Bane Chronicles, and the Warriors & Watchmen series. Writing is his passion, as well as his hobby. He studied creative writing in college to learn the mechanics of written stories. He has been influenced in his writing by great authors such as Sir Isaac Asimov, Terry Brooks, and Orson Scott Card, to name only a few. Simon has been a student of the scriptures all his life, and feels passionately about helping others understand them better. The most difficult aspect of scriptures to comprehend is prophecy. That is why Simon has combined his passions for writing and the scriptures to create a fictional account of the fulfillment of End Times Prophecies. The first book in the Warrior and Watchmen Series was published in 2015.